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The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family Audio CD – Audiobook, CD

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Audio CD: 645 pages
  • Publisher: Highbridge Company; Unabridged edition (13 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1622315472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1622315475
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,058,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A gifted journalist, who has powerfully conveyed the grief of the bereft in various international trouble spots, here wrestles with his own grief for a mother who suffered through episodes of suicidal depression. This turns into a quest for core values in a family history spanning three continents, in which one uprooting led to the next. Many readers will find a mirror in Roger Cohen's layered, ambitious, haunting book (Joseph Lelyveld, author of Great Soul)

Roger Cohen has given us a profound and powerful book, gripping from start to finish. The story of his Jewish family's suffering and success, from Lithuania before the Shoah to South Africa, London and Tel Aviv today, features fierce battles against external demons (Hitler, Stalin, pervasive anti-Semitism) and the internal demons of depression and displacement. Wise and reflective, The Girl from Human Street is memoir at its finest (Fritz Stern, author of Five Germanys I Have Known)

I am moved by this book. I find fascinating the fusion of the private, even intimate family story with the history of European Jews in the twentieth century, the marriage of a subtle memoir with an essay on Jewish identity, tradition and assimilation, various diasporas and Israel, Israelis and Palestinians, humanism vs. fanaticism (Amos Oz, author of A Tale of Love and Darkness)

Roger Cohen has written an absorbing, haunting voyage around the Jewish twentieth century. A book full of loss and love, it charts the intense, universal need to belong - a need so great, it can lead to despair and even a kind of madness. It is more than the story of one family. It is the story of a need that makes us human (Jonathan Freedland, author of Jacob's Gift)

In this honest and lucid book, the British-born Cohen tells how his Lithuanian Jewish ancestors came to South Africa . With limpid prose, Cohen delivers a searching and profoundly moving memoir (Kirkus Reviews)

In a lyrical, digressive tracking of mental illness in his far-flung family, New York Times columnist Cohen explores the tentacles of repressed memory in Jewish identity (Publishers Weekly)

Impressive . His often moving, beautifully written book may be a "story of the 20th century", but it also explores how Jewish identity might evolve in the 21st (Sunday Times)

Roger Cohen is an eminent journalist and a wonderful storyteller . The Girl from Human Street has important things to say, things that can perhaps only be said by a Jewish author. Cohen's book is brave, honourable and enlightened. It is also beautifully written **** (Daily Telegraph)

I was unprepared to be as gripped and moved as I was by this exploration of his family's past . His observations about what it was like to be a Jew in Britain are sharp (The Times)

Beneath this brave memoir of a Jewish clan looms the memory of the Zagare massacre **** (Sunday Telegraph)

Searing, passionate detail . By tracing where his mother came from, Cohen, the Jewish runaway, speaks universally in this disarmingly raw narrative, and his lovely but haunted mother even more so - not least in her refusal to give up trying to love (Observer) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

An expansive yet intimate memoir of modern Jewish identity, following the diaspora of the author's own family to assay the impact of memory, displacement and disquiet --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover
2.5 stars

Roger Cohen's disjointed diaspora story will be a familiar one to many Jewish readers. Forebears fleeing pogroms, escapees from Nazism, immigrants adapting to a new life in a new land (in his grandparents' case, South Africa, in his parents' case, England), how much to assimilate, how much to retain a Jewish identity. There are harrowing moments in the Lithuanian sections and discomforting ones in South Africa with the dubious moral stance of the Jewish community who no longer find themselves the underdogs. (Quite hard to stomach, these.)

This family memoir lacks a cohesive narrative arc and flits about all over the place making it very hard to follow. It is overshadowed throughout by the genetically-disposed depression (possibly manic-depression) of Cohen's mother, June. There are many family photographs; one in particular shows her as an apparently happy, smiling young woman with her children. Cohen analyses this picture at length and reads all sorts of dire things into it that were simply not discernible to this baffled reader. Later in the book, he takes a lengthy detour to Israel, telling the story of a distant cousin, also suffering from depression, and interweaving it with the problems of the region. He seems to conflate mental ill health with the story of Zionism: "Nobody understood her. Nobody understood Israel." He labours the point without making the case.

As well as confusing in the telling, there are random shifts of tense and much of the writing is inelegant - on occasion, embarrassingly florid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hannah ward on 23 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover
I was very moved by the stories in this book. Even though some of the accounts are truly devastating and horrific, I found myself fascinated about how a Jewish family survived throughout the holocaust. Roger Cohen puts a truly hauntingly perspective on them, that sometimes I did have to come away and think about other things. There is quite a bit of jumping around in this book but it didn't faze me. This is a kind of book that will stay with you for a lifetime.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautiful book. Cohen writes like a master, his personal story about loss and connectedness is poignant and powerful. I found this book enthralling and moving.
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